Will there ever be a better example of good cop/bad cop?
Martin O’Neill can be as even-tempered and even as placid as anyone when he wants to be while Roy Keane’s fury is akin to that experienced when the Balrog of Morgoth is awoken in ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’.
The majority of Republic of Ireland fans want County Derry man O’Neill to succeed Giovanni Trapattoni as manager. But had you said a few weeks ago that Roy Keane would be coming on board as his assistant, your friends and relatives would have been forgiven for attempting to have you sectioned.
I texted a friend yesterday asking him what he thought about the imminent arrival of Marty and Roy.
“Crazy! It could be the best thing or the worst thing ever,” read the text.
Appointing O’Neill as manager is a no brainer but Keane as his assistant is a gamble.
Keane’s relationship with the FAI needs no introduction in this column. The one thing I would say is that he has virtually no personal experience of playing alongside many of the players who make up the team currently.
I am not going to lie, I’d be thrilled if O’Neill and Keane are unveiled as the men to succeed Trapattoni and Marco Tardelli. It’s the whole uncertainty of what they may or may not achieve together that excites me .
Essentially what I am trying to say is this. Whether you agree or not, Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane are two of the biggest names that football on this island has ever produced. And it’s that status that I think would give people the feeling that anything is possible again.
No-one needs me to go over the last few years under Trapattoni - we all know how bad they were. But if two strong personalities like O’Neill and Keane were involved, it wouldn’t surprise me if Fifa decided to kick a team out next year’s World Cup in Brazil just so that the Republic of Ireland could be there!
Ireland’s a country that has made a success of double acts. Martin McGuinness and Ian Paisley; Martin McGuinness and Peter Robinson; Ted and Dougal; Podge and Rodge; Brian O’Driscoll and Gordon D’Arcy - the list goes on.
There’s no reason why Marty and Roy can’t become the nation’s favourite double act - but just as long as they are more McGuinness and Paisley and less Podge and Rodge.
Thankfully the FAI haven’t dragged their heels with this one and no-one can argue that giving the job to Marty and Roy is a cheap option.
Some might turn their noses up at the fact O’Neill used to captain Northern Ireland but they need their heads looked at if you ask me.
O’Neill doesn’t go for the most attractive football but he’s tactically aware and any players who have played under him will tell you his man management skills are among the best in the business. It wasn’t long ago that he was being linked with the ‘biggest job in football’ - the England manager’s job.
Martin O’Neill is the best choice by a country mile but I have every intention of contacting Ladbrokes because I stuck five quid on Roy Keane to replace Trapattoni six weeks ago - maybe they’ll be in a generous mood or, then again, maybe I’ll wake up with cornflakes stuck to my face.
The future’s bright, the future’s green!